Years after he had retired and moved away from Rock Island, Martin H. "Marty" Galex remained partial to his hometown community.
Whether in Florida or Texas, he remained a son of Rock Island. Friends he grew up with were remembered fondly in numerous stories. Restaurants anywhere else were compared to his favorites in Rock Island and nearby towns. His firmly-held views on business and politics were grounded in his experiences in Rock Island.
Galex died Aug. 20, in Dripping Springs, Texas.
He was 84-years-old.
Galex was born in Chicago on Nov. 14, 1936, the only child of Wilbur and Rose “Sugie” Galex.
Growing up, Galex was active in youth activities at the Tri-City Jewish Center and on the baseball diamond. At Rock Island High School, he participated in theatrical productions and excelled on the baseball and tennis teams.
While in his teens, Galex began working in the family-owned mattress factory. The business had been founded in Chicago by his maternal grandfather, Jacob Sherman. His parents, Wilbur and Rose, moved the business to Rock Island in the 1940s. Galex eventually became vice president and then president of the company that is now The Bedding Group/Therapedic Midwest.
Galex graduated from Rock Island High School in 1953 and in 1957 from the College of Commerce at the University of Iowa, where he was an officer in Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Jewish fraternity.
It was at an AEPi convention in Miami that Galex met Roberta Faye “Bobbie” Levinson, a native of Miami Beach, who later also attended the University of Iowa. They were married on June 30, 1957.
Galex’s civic involvement began on a school advisory panel and then as a member of the city planning commission. He was elected to the city council in 1973 and re-elected in 1977. He served as interim mayor for seven months following the death in February 1978 of Mayor Alan Campbell.
Galex also served as a board member of the Tri-City Jewish Center, the synagogue where he became a bar mitzvah, and where his wife and children also were active.
In retirement, Galex and his wife moved to south Florida. Many happy years were spent in Boca Raton, where they formed close friendships and enjoyed frequent visits by children and grandchildren. Over the years, he particularly enjoyed fishing trips in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys.
The couple moved to Texas a few years ago.
But memories of Rock Island were frequent. During a family reunion in Florida in 2014, t-shirts were distributed that listed favorite places: among them: Jim’s Rib Haven, Harris Pizza, Whitey’s Ice Cream, Star Sandwich, Frank’s [Pizzeria] of Silvis, the Plantation [Restaurant], and the Gay Nineties restaurant.
Galex is survived by his wife of 64 years, Roberta “Bobbie” Galex. Survivors also include daughters Audrey (Dave Schechter), Harriet (Steve Greenlee), and Debbie (Jerry Hack), and son Michael (Teresa Enriquez), and 11 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents and an infant son, Stuart.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A graveside funeral will be 1:00 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021 at Hebrew Cemetery, Rock Island, Ill.
Online condolences, memories and expressions of sympathy may be left for the family at wheelanpressly.com
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